Queens Park Rangers
British-Indian businessman Amit Bhatia has been appointed as the new chairman of English soccer club Queens Park Rangers.
Bhatia, who first purchased a stake in the Championship club in 2007 and has previously served as vice chairman, replaces co-chairmen Tony Fernandes and Ruben Gnanalingam, who have vacated their roles in order to facilitate the appointment.
He will work alongside chief executive Lee Hoos as the London club looks to rebuild following a UK£17 million financial settlement over breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations caused by over-spending. As part of the agreed sanctions set out by the English Football League (EFL), QPR will face a transfer embargo in the transfer window of January 2019.
Gnanalingam, who remains the club’s majority shareholder, will replace Bhatia as vice chairman, while also remaining chairman of the QPR Trust.
Bhatia said: “I’m excited to be stepping into the role as chairman of QPR, and have accepted this position fully aware of the responsibilities and pressures that come with this appointment.
“As well as being involved with the management of the club over the past decade, I have always been a loyal fan and a passionate supporter.
“Under my watch, I will ensure that we make decisions that are in the best long-term interests of QPR, and which bring stability and sustainability to the club.
“While we would like to be more active in the transfer market it’s important we adhere to the profitability and sustainability rules moving forward.
“We are pursuing a more careful and considered strategy and our squad is now made up of young and hungry players, filled with passion and commitment.”
Fernandes, who became the club’s owner when he purchased the 66 per cent stake previously held by Formula One magnates Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, said: “It’s a good time for a change as the club is now in a stable position and this will give the new chairman a good foundation to build upon.
“It’s time for the club to have a chairman who is based in London. It was important for me to step down at a time where we have solved many issues such as FFP, making the club sustainable, building a strong academy and having a strong backroom team.”
He added: “I remain a committed shareholder and co-owner and will do what I can to get QPR back to the promised land.”
On the field, QPR have struggled so far this season, losing both league matches. They play West Brom on Saturday.